SURELY two opposing fundamentalistic world-views would create visceral antagonism; and yet ’Til Kingdom Come: Trump, faith and money (BBC4, Tuesday of last week) presented instead a symbiotic relationship where one might least expect it: in the weirdest unholy alliance. Conservative Evangelicals in the United States are Israel’s Settler movement’s strongest supporters, providing eye-wateringly huge sums of hard cash and vital political influence.
Both sides are driven by religious conviction: the occupation of the entire Holy Land by Jews is prophetically ordained in scripture, and so we must strain every sinew to bring it to pass, as soon as possible. (There is a big theological question here: why don’t they trust the Omnipotent Deity to fulfil his prophetic ordinances in his own good time: wasn’t Jesus rather strong on that point?)
The two sides are fired up by entirely different aims. The Settlers want to establish Jewish Israel securely for ever; the Evangelicals are convinced that Jewish reoccupation of David’s kingdom is a necessary step in the end-time scenario that will inevitably bring about the return of Jesus in power and majesty: the fulfilment of every hope and dream. Unfortunately, this will involve the eternal damnation of all Jews who have not converted to Christianity — but they both seem to accept this as a regrettable fly that does not affect the efficacy of the ointment.
The Settlers have given up on raising money from US Jews, because far too many of them are bothered about the plight of the Palestinian people. No such qualms affect our two sides, who see these unfortunates as infidel terrorists who cannot be permitted to stand in the way of God’s plan.
And so to Donald Trump. He is their hero, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, having no truck with wishy-washy peace plans (well, not ones that involve the co-operation of all relevant sides). It was a programme equally terrifying and heart-breaking. The Kentucky Evangelical church that was focused on serves a grindingly poor area of unemployment. They are kind and generous people — except when their toxic reading of scripture overtakes their natural humanity. Does this ring a bell, anyone?
Silenced: The hidden story of disabled Britain (BBC2, Tuesday of last week) was fuelled by anger. The actor Cerrie Burnell has no lower right arm, and has faced constant encouragement to wear a prosthetic; if she doesn’t look “normal”, why should she expect a normal life? We saw and heard from those who struggled to make society accept that, whatever people look like or sound like, they have equal value: it is very much a work still in progress, alas.
The recent The Pembrokeshire Murders (ITV, 11, 12, 13 January) was one of the least sensational, most sober — and therefore most affective — crime docudramas yet, presenting the sheer solid and committed police slog required finally to convict the perpetrator of a series of particularly vile crimes.